Snot suckers and Mom guilt

I think I was wrong about the most frustrating thing about being a mother to a tiny person, it isn’t sleep, it is a sick baby.  Leia had her first cold and ear infection (and I think this is all combined with teething woes) this past week.  So tough to watch her suffer and not really be able to do anything but feel like I should! it gave me a whole new sympathy for parents with seriously ill children, I mean it was so hard to watch her have a cold and an ear infection, I can’t imagine having to watch her go through a really serious disease. Parenting is full of reminders of my neediness and dependency on God as much as it makes me forget my own needs and only see hers.

What a long week it was, she couldn’t really sleep, there were no naps to speak of and instead of getting a baby in bed around 7 she usually just sat on our laps until she would pass out at around 10 pm and of course night wakings were more frequent.  Mr Penguin (her humidifier is shaped like a little penguin) seemed a very insignificant weapon in the war on congestion, but that and the nasal spray and snot suck were the only options the doctor really gave me.  Has anyone had sucess with the saline spray??  She just would not have it, seriously I would have needed to strap her head down, once I almost shot it into her eye and after that I just kind of gave up on the “Little noses” saline spray.  I had only  slightly better luck with the snot sucker (I honestly don’t know the real name for the thing, I would say bulb syringe, but I have a mechanized thing that is not a bulb).  My snot sucker actually plays music, I thought that was ridiculous when I discovered the feature, but it did seem to get her attention a bit.  Most snot seemed to get on me rather than in the snot sucker or on any cloth or tissue.  She was constantly rubbing her face on my chest. Boy am I glad she is finally better, I was beginning to think it would never end!  At least she loves amoxicillin, no fight at all to get her to take that twice a day. i bet she would even drink it from a sippy cup.

We survived though, and 9 months is a pretty long time to go without getting sick I think all things considered.  Still that feeling of wanting to do everything for your child and not being able to fix things reminds me of an issue I think so common to moms – guilt. I feel like so many of us when we talk about what we do for our kids, or fret over different decisions for them, do so with this hint of guilt in our language and maybe the need to always defend ourselves to ourselves and others.  Why?  Of course we love our little ones so fiercely so we want to do what is best for them, but it seems to me the world does little to help this.  I was looking online at discussions about leaving your baby behind for a trip with your husband.  I couldn’t believe some of the comments! Wow some women were so crazy sounding! If you think you should never leave your child alone until they are 13 that is fine for you I guess, but I have the suspicion that that is not God’s will for my family.  My husband wants me to go to a seminar with him, when Leia will be a few days shy of a year old.  I admit I am totally nervous to leave her for a few nights or a night for that matter! I go back and forth between feelings of fear and guilt and more rational thoughts about it.  Since fear and guilt usually are not great places to live from and my husband wants to do this, I am thinking I need to learn to trust God with this and not let fear get the better of me. Anyway, some of the women on this forum, you would have thought people were talking about leaving their kids on a church doorstep or something, as opposed to leaving them with a grandparent for a couple days!! How is leaving your baby with a Grandparent that loves him or her and should have a relationship with them too abandonment?!  I really want Leia to have a special relationship with my Mom so I would like to push my fears aside and crazy mom guilt and give my mom the chance to spend time with her. Not to mention the fact I am with her 24/7 all the time as a stay at home Mom (see even now I am defending myself to imaginary judges- mom guilt!).   This issue just seems to drive home this mom guilt concept to me.  It shows up in the big and small things and it is something this Momma anyway has to fight to recognize and hand over the the Lord. Does anyone else struggle with Mom guilt? Always wondering what is best, needing to justify your actions to an imaginary panel of parenting experts?  Even with things I am pretty settled in how I want to handle with Leia, I will still hear nagging little voices in my head quoting opposing views on the matter from time to time.  Maybe it gets better the more kids you have?

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Maybe THE most frustrating thing about being a mom to tiny people…

Sleep. I know I could have done a lot worse sleep wise in my life as a mom so far. Leia was an awesome newborn sleeper, for the first month I was waking up just to make sure she was OK, i mean I expected her to get up every hour or something right? She would sleep soundly through the night. Then around 4 months we had a really difficult phase, sleep training had to start in earnest. There were some unorthodox nap positions and I think a lot of the issue was her being hungry (see my past posts on my breastfeeding dillema) but we made it through and in general I guess I get pretty good sleep compared to some moms.

Still, lets face it, it will just never be the same.  I never get to sleep in ever, I mean it is so far off I don’t even want to think about when that gets to happen ( I guess when my kids are dropped off with Grandma and mommy and daddy go out of town for something, then it might happen, but if I know me I will probably just wake up anyway).  For a while now Leia doesn’t really require me to come into her room too often in the night, but she does cry out pretty regularly and even though she puts herself back to sleep I still hear it and am awake.  Then we got back from Ohio and for a few nights she was just sleeping without a peep truly all night! from 7-7 pretty much woohoo. I know it was naive but I kind of that that was it, maybe we were really to that place where she was just sleeping through the night for real, no sort of sleeping through the night just doing it. But the thing that is so frustrating about baby sleep is no matter what you do (I def think schedule and sticking to your guns about schedules does help though, for me I can say I think having my baby on a schedule that I tried to dictate rather than her has overall really helped, yeah it is tough sometimes but I think easier in the long run) things change. Something is lying in wait to mess up the sleep! For me this week I really think it is two front teeth, she didn’t get them for christmas, so I think they are bugging her now.  I am pretty confident it is that because usually, even if she had trouble going to sleep once asleep she would stay that way for a while, last night she would be asleep in her bed I would shut the door she would be asleep and then 5 minutes later waaah…. This went on for two or three hours, and still she didn’t want to sleep in this morning!

The other super frustrating thing about sleep is naps. And by that I mean my naps not hers, I am not going to touch hers, that is a can of worms isn’t it? I fought long and hard to get her taking naps and for the most part I have succeeded (though teeth and standing abilities are disrupting that a little this week) and it was a good fight and well worth it, but the thing I am frustrated about right now, is that even after a night like last night when I really want a nap, so often that little window when she is asleep thereby allowing me to sleep I can’t sleep!? Maybe it is the pressure, knowing you only have this little window to sleep, maybe it is just being too tired who knows? Then there are all the conflicting desires at naptime, she often goes down when I am hungry and ready for my own lunch, or just want to take a minute to read or relax or you know have all those chores that are so much easier to do when she is asleep, etc etc, etc.  Sleep bahhumbug!

Still, when Leia has a rough few days I have to reflect on how great she is pretty much all the time, She is a really happy baby for the most part and I have to be thankful for the great newborn sleep too, not everyone gets off to such a good start. Here is hoping tonight goes better, the thing about the sleep war, it is not like it is a battle you can walk away from, you always have to give it another shot…

Taking flight and crib walking

Well our first flight with Leia was a bit of baptism by fire, but really it was a stunning success. I would say the flight to Ohio was one of the worst I have had and that is saying something considering all the international travel I have done. We were supposed to fly from Burbank to Dallas to Dayton, we ended up flying from Burbank landing at LAX (%*%^&$) to refuel and sitting on the tarmac at LAX for about three hours before missing out connection in Dallas and spending the night there. It worked out well because of course that is David’s hometown so we saw all the grandparents 🙂 but we were without bags for not one but two nights! Through all that Leia never had a meltdown! She was amazing trapped in that plane! So if you are wondering whether or not you should travel with your little one once again I say go for it! (especially when you only have one and especially when that one is a baby it really seems like the prime time to travel). I found my baby carrier to be really helpful just to keep her confined and I think it prompted some sleep on her part too. Plus Daddy was a big help, we will see how it goes if I fly somewhere alone. She was on our laps this time, and it was no trouble, but if I do it alone I might spring for the extra seat.  Also, I did gate check the stroller/car seat combo and personally I thought it was great having the stroller in the airport to help carry our stuff. Now, Leia is outgrowing her infant carseat rapidly and her bigger girl carseat is on its way as I write so i am not sure what I will do about that next time. Those convertible carseats just don’t look travel friendly to me, so I will let you know how that plays out after our next trip (should be Hawaii in Feb!).

My other big concern for this trip was her sleep schedule, this would be the first time we dealt with a time difference and for a whole week. It has not been a problem at all praise God! Of course naps were a bit wonky with visiting and things but what happened was her normal bedtime here is 7 pm, which in Ohio is 10pm so we were able to just get her to bed around her normal bedtime most nights and still spend time with family. David and I had a harder time with the time difference than she has! Also, as a result of the trip it seems like the dream feed is no longer needed,since being back she goes to sleep and really doesn’t wake up until 6:30-7 AM, she is pretty much sleeping through the night, even more so than before we left! (last night she woke up at five because of a leaky diaper I think, but I got her back to sleep after that).  So really travel wise we have just been winning at everything!  The only thing is without the late night/early morning snacks that means breastfeeding is really over. That was the only time I could get her to nurse, and even then I am not sure she was really eating just comforting herself probably. I am just kind of refusing to think about it, 2011 had enough tears and stress over breastfeeding, I am not going to worry about it again until baby number 2 comes along.

It was great having Leia meet all the family, she had never even met my siblings, grandpa or Dad! Also, it really hit home the uniqueness of family. I don’t know if I have mentioned here before, but having a baby really changes things in regards to living a million miles from home. It’s one thing to live away from your parents and another to live away from your child’s grandparents. Usually when doing anything I am always taking care of Leia. Church, bible studies, etc I hold her and watch after her all the time, in Ohio my Mom, aunt, etc would just grab Leia and hold her and entertain her. I had a break in a way I can’ t get here really. I got to play games with my cousins and siblings and not worry about Leia. You have to know non family members really really well before they feel like they can just grab your baby and take her in another room. Similarly, David and I are going to a seminar together in March I am pretty sure, and to do so we are making a visit out of it in Ohio so we can drop Leia off with my Mom and Dad and then we will head off to NJ for the seminar. It is one thing to ask Grandma to watch your baby overnight or for more than one night and another thing to ask that of someone you are not related to. So anyway, Grandparents are great! It was also really fun to get a surprise little visit with the TX grandparents. Not fun always choosing between the two places because neither are driving distance!

I am truly thankful for the christmas trip we had. I hadn’t been home for Christmas in years! (My grandpa paid for the tickets, otherwise I never go at Christmas because of the ridonkulous jump in price).

Now there is one new problem we are having. Now that Leia has learned to “walk” in her crib naptime has become a war of attrition again, oddly enough nightime has become easier, but naps which have been great for weeks have become her standing in her crib yelling until I go in one or two times and physically lay her back down until she is too tired to get up again I guess? She will stand there rubbing her eyes and laying her head against the crib rail crying but not just lay down and sleep like she used to when she couldn’t stand! Boo! But super cute seeing her “walk”around!